Escondido, CA
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Quarantines of EUSD students and staff continue on rise

A week after the Escondido Union School District returned to hybrid-model in-classroom teaching, there has been a steady increase in the number of students and staff having to be quarantined.
As of Tuesday (February 9), the EUSD’s website dash board reported 188 in quarantine (158 students, 30 staff members), which was somewhat more than four times the number reported in quarantine at the January 28 board meeting. And it reported a total of 99 in quarantine, four days after classes were reopened on February 2.
Four schools accounted for those being quarantined. Farr Avenue school had the largest number of students in quarantine, with 44 (five staff also quarantined), followed by Mission, with 32 (10 staff quarantined).
Late last week, Dr. Luis Rankins-Ibarra, EUSD superintendent, told NBC7 TV that the increases (at that time, about double the previous number) were “alarming” but “not unexpected,” and he called the quarantines simply a “precautionary measure.”
Expressing greater concern was Romero Maratea, president of the Escondido Elementary Educators Association. He told NBC7 that the number of quarantines underlined the union’s previous advice to the school board and superintendent warning against reopening. The primary issue, he said, was the number of infections in the Escondido community, which remains in the highest rate Purple Tier category but on a slight decline.
Seemingly verifying that concern, Rankins-Ibarra said he believed the positive virus cases had been brought in from the community rather than being transmitted within the school’s campuses.
He said the district had been aggressive in establishing the necessary safety protocols: temperature checks prior to students entering class, portable air-filtration systems in the classrooms, appropriate spacing between desks, and compulsory mask wearing in the classrooms.
The district’s hybrid model allows for a maximum of 12 students in class, with students attending class four half-days a week.
Despite the ongoing possibility of again having to pivot back to distance learning, Rankins-Ibarra said he had recommended to the board the reopening to in-class instruction at all campuses. Previously, the district had temporarily shut down in-class instruction at two schools, then implemented distance learning at all of its schools, before the February 2 return to in-class instruction at every campus.

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